DOWNEY – “Lucky Seven” is the theme for the seventh annual GlennFest Film Festival, a full week of free movies that starts Sunday, Sept. 30, and continues through Monday, Oct. 8.
There will be 24 free movies showing in four different venues—the Downey Civic Theatre, Studio Movie Grill (what used to be the Krikorian Theater), Downey Masonic Lodge #220, and the Epic Lounge, all located in Downtown Downey.
Presented in conjunction with the Downey Arts Coalition, and with sponsorships from Discover Downey, the Epic Lounge, SEIU Local 721, Index Two Studios, Bob’s Big Boy, and the Los Angeles Cuban Ballet Company, this year is the largest GlennFest Film Festival to date.
In addition to the free movie screenings, there will be a free art exhibit showing at the Downey Civic Theatre Oct. 6-7.
Many of the film screenings will be accompanied by live performances and interactive activities for the audience, such as a ballet performance by the Los Angeles Cuban Ballet Company to celebrate World Ballet Day (Sept. 30), a Q&A with the star of the movie “Between,” Stella Damasus (Oct. 7), a Halloween dress-up event for kids and young adults with special needs (Oct. 6), and even a group sing-along with a very popular musical.
Below is the full schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 30: GlennFest kicks off with its celebration of World Ballet Day and four dance documentaries, all at the Downey United Masonic Lodge #220. The day begins with “Hot to Trot” at 11:30 am, a film about same-sex competitive ballroom dancing, and the four men and women who train their bodies, deal with their families, and navigate through their personal ups and downs, on the way to winning a championship.
“Dancing Beethoven” follows at 1:20 pm, which chronicles the hard work of ballet dancers and musicians as they prepare for a Tokyo show set to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The film delves into the philosophy of dance, music, and art, both from the European perspective of the ballet’s choreographer Maurice Bejart, as well as from the Japanese perspective of the Tokyo Ballet company.
This documentary, is a prelude to “The Ninth Symphony by Bejart” on October 6, which is a film of the actual, complete Bejart ballet. This film is in multiple languages with English subtitles.
At 4 pm there will be a live performance of various dances by the Los Angeles Cuban Ballet Company, followed by “To Dance Like A Man,” about identical triplets determined to become great ballet dancers. It’s shot almost like a home movie, with a candid style that makes you feel as if you’re right there with the boys, during their days of training at Cuba’s National Ballet School. In Spanish with English subtitles.
The day finishes with “Dancing Across Borders” at 7 pm, about a 16-year-old Cambodian boy, already a dance prodigy, who is transported to the United States to become a professional ballet dancer. All of these dance documentaries show subtleties to the art that most of us have probably never thought about, nor explained in such detail. In English and Khmer with English Subtitles.
All movies on Day 1 will be showing at the Downey United Masonic Lodge #220, 8244 3rd Street, in Downtown Downey. RSVP for your free tickets at glennfest.com.
Monday, Oct. 1: GlennFest continues at 6:45 pm inside Studio Movie Grill for a free screening and gala of the 25th anniversary of “The Wedding Banquet,” a comedy farce about a gay landlord and his female tenant who agree to a marriage of convenience, but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand.
This is one of director Ang Lee’s earliest movies, two years before his Golden Globe winning “Sense and Sensibility” and seven years before “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Gala includes light refreshments. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles.
“Summer of '67” follows at 7:45 pm, also at Studio Movie Grill. The movie is based on real life events and chronicles the turbulent times of the ‘60s, as well as the struggles faced by men and women impacted by the Vietnam War. Its cinematography and use of colors, set pieces and character development will immerse you in the past.
A short walk away is the Epic Lounge, where “A Silent Agreement” will screen at 9 pm, showcasing Auslan (Australian sign language) and how a gay couple navigates communicating with each other when one is deaf and the other has a speech impediment.
The Studio Movie Grill is at 8200 3rd Street and Epic Lounge is at 8239 2nd Street, both in Downtown Downey. RSVP for your free tickets at glennfest.com.
Tuesday, Oct. 2: GlennFest presents an Aussie comedy double feature of “A Few Best Men” at 6 pm (featuring Olivia Newton-John and Rebel Wilson), about a groom and his three best men having to come to grips with his starting a new life away from them. The sequel, “A Few Less Men” follows at 7:40 pm, where we follow the continuing adventures of David, Tom, Graham and Luke, as they try to get back to London to attend a funeral.
Wednesday, Oct. 3: GlennFest will be showing “Hurricane Bianca” at Epic Lounge from 6:45-8:15 pm, bringing “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch and the legendary RuPaul along for the comedy storm.
Roy Haylock transforms himself into Bianca to wreak havoc at a small Texas school, and proverbial hilarity ensues. After-show hosted by Hummingbird Meadows. Stay for karaoke fun after the movie.
Thursday, Oct. 4: It's a GlennFest international double feature at Studio Movie Grill, beginning with “El Callejon” (Mexico) at 6:45 pm, about a country singer who meets a woman while she waits for news of her missing husband. In Spanish with English subtitles. Next is “AUX” (UK) at 9 pm, about the ghost of a WWII British soldier who terrorizes the locals because he thinks the Nazis have landed in England.
Saturday, Oct. 6: GlennFest has a full day’s worth of movies from 9 am through 10 pm, as well as an all-day art exhibit in the theater lobby. The first show is a special screening of “Monster Island” for special needs kids and young adults at 9 am (bonus--everybody gets to dress up in their Halloween costumes!) After-party and karaoke fun.
Then at 1 pm Glennfest will host Downey’s largest sing-a-long (the movie is a secret, but it’s listed on glennfest.com). After that is “The Ninth Symphony by Bejart” at 3 pm, where 250 ballet dancers perform to a version of Beethoven's 9th at Tokyo's NHK Hall.
The day continues with “Retablo” at 4:35 pm, about a boy who wants to be a story-box maker like his father, but must deal with the chauvinistic world around them. In Peruvian with English subtitles. Then there’s “Venus” at 6:15 pm, about a transitioning woman who discovers that she's the father of a 14-year-old boy.
The day finishes with “5 Weddings” at 8:15 pm, a comedy about an American journalist who travels to India to write about Bollywood weddings.
All of Saturday’s screenings will be at the Downey Civic Theater.
Sunday, Oct. 7: GlennFest and the art exhibit continue with an artist reception in the Downey Civic Theatre. The first screening is “Ma Ma” at 10:25 am, with Penelope Cruz's incredible performance about a mother dealing with breast cancer and how it affects the lives of everyone around her. In Spanish with English subtitles
Then at 1:45 pm is a secret screening (the name of the film can’t be publicly revealed at glennfest.com), about a young man from Mexico who doesn't speak German, but through a series of events winds up in Germany, where no one speaks Spanish. Hint about this movie: it’s a beloved favorite in Mexico. In Spanish, German with English and Spanish subtitles.
At 4 pm comes the North American premiere of “Between,” about a marriage counselor who has to reevaluate her single life after meeting a man who is about to change her perspective on love. Make sure you stay after the movie, because there will be a bonus Q&A session with the movie’s star and co-producer, Stella Damasus.
The day finishes with “Cold Skin” at 6:55 pm, about a weather observer that must survive a year on a desolate island, living in a lighthouse, while trying to fend off strange creatures that come out of the ocean at night.
All movies on Sunday will be playing at the Downey Civic Theater.
Monday, Oct. 8: After a week-long celebration, GlennFest concludes at the Studio Movie Grill with a Middle Eastern double feature, beginning with a United Arab Emirates film, “Fan of Amoory,” at 6:15 pm, about a boy who dreams of becoming a professional soccer player while facing opposition from his family, friends and neighbors. In Arabic with English subtitles.
The final film of the festival is “The Judge” at 8:10 pm, a documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East, whose career provides rare insights into both Islamic Law and gendered justice. In Arabic with English subtitles.
For more information and to reserve your free tickets for any of the films, visit the festival’s official website at glennfest.com.
For updated event announcements visit GlennFest’s social media accounts: Facebook.com/GlennFest, Twitter.com/GlennFest, and Instagram.com/GlennFestFilms.